Bengaluru: Working of government machineryin Karnataka virtually came to a grinding halt today as more than five lakh employees, ignoring warnings of disciplinary action, struck work demanding pay parity with Central staff. Most of the government offices, including the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat and its annexe Vikasa Soudha wore a deserted look as most of the employees abstained from attending duty.
Only a few employees, most of them on contract work, trickled in for duty. Functioning of government colleges and schools was also affected as most of the faculty and staff did not turn up, officials said. At some institutions, those who had come for work returned home. Similar reports of employees not attending to work at government offices have come from across the state. State Government Employees Association President Manjegowda said government did not call them for discussion despite giving notice.
He said “We had given notice to Chief Secretary, but neither he nor any one from the government bothered to call us for any kind of discussion.” “If government does not look into our demands, the agitation will be intensified in the days to come,” he added. The state government yesterday in a circular had warned its employees of strict action if they took part in the one-day strike. Quoting various rules, the circular had said that employees striking work can be imprisoned for a period extending up to six months or face a fine of Rs 500 or both.
It also listed out the actions that the government can take under various rules against employees who go on leave to participate in the strike. Responding to the circular Manjegowda said, “government has power to threaten employees that it will dismiss or arrest them, but no employee will fear it.”
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